George Barris, the custom car builder who designed the iconic Batmobile from the 1960s Batman series, has passed away. He was 89.
Though the Batmobile was arguably his claim to fame, Barris also had a hand in creating several other famed TV cars from the era. He worked on The Munster Koach from The Munsters, as well as Bruce Lee’s Black Beauty from The Green Hornet. But it’s the Batmobile’s sleek angles, unique cockpit style and general awesomeness we’ll remember most. Barris built that original Batmobile from a refurbished 1955 Lincoln Futura, which sold at auction for $4.2 million two years ago.
According to the Associated Press, Barris spent most of his career working out of a shop in a North Hollywood neighborhood, just down the street from Universal Studios. Back in the day, it wasn’t much of a shock to see the Batmobile, or a custom build for celebrities or politicians, sitting inside and visible from the curb. Over the years, he built vehicles for everyone from Frank Sinatra to Elvis Presley.
In addition to his contributions to the full-sized car world, Barris also pioneered the model car industry. He helped create models and fanned the flames for the hobby that is now one of the most popular in the world (who hasn’t put together a model car at some point in their life?).
Though Barris will be missed, his design influence on the auto industry (and pop culture at large) will certainly persist for decades to come.
(Via The Associated Press)